There are those who will freely admit that this sentence concludes with a material item or items; a new book, item of clothing, CD or game or for some with bigger aspirations (and incomes); a new music system, item of furniture or even a car or house!
Then there are those who congratulate themselves by finishing the sentence with non-material things believing they are somehow better people for escaping the trappings of materialism; good health, success in business, and of course the ever elusive happiness.
There are even those (usually with some form of faith or moral conscience) who would answer with the less selfish desire for the health, wealth, success or happiness of someone else that is important to them.
But how many of us would answer that our only true desire this Christmas is for the salvation of a sister, brother, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, colleague, neighbour, friend or stranger that we pass every day on the street? And if we were to answer that this was our only true desire, how many of us would be answering honestly? To take it one step further, how many of us have been actively preparing for the opportunity since September when the Christmas shopping usually begins? How many of us have been sincerely praying and seeking God for an individual that is important to us in some way or another? How many couldn’t wait for Christmas to come in order to take the opportunity to send that person an evangelistic card or book, to invite that person to Church or to Christmas lunch or even just to have that conversation about the meaning of Christmas for a Christian? How many of us are excited about this opportunity even if we know it will be inconvenient in some way for us?
Mostly at Christmas, as Christians, we behave in the same way as non-believers with ever increasing budgets and excessive celebrations. We forget what we are doing and miss the opportunities for evangelism. We don’t take our calling seriously. We feel good if we go to Church, avoid drinking too much or spending too much and we believe that somehow this is a witness to non-believers. Maybe they will respect us more or think that we are morally more upright than they are for our stance but what does that really achieve if we don’t communicate the reason for our different behaviour. If we don’t tell them that Jesus is the only true hope this Christmas and if we don’t remind them who and what we are celebrating.
Bizarrely at Christmas we tend to focus on ourselves and our families (personal or Church) and forget those outside our circles who are likely more unhappy at Christmas time, and just after, than at any other time of the year. There is much disappointment, sadness, loneliness and tragically suicide at Christmas and yet as Christians we remain silent or take a “well deserved” break and withdraw from the hopeless and helpless souls that need us most.
We have the only message of HOPE for those still living in darkness but
“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10 vs 14
With just ONE WEEK to go there is still time to reach out to that person(s) that God has laid on your heart OR you can let another year slip by and hope that God is patient with you and with the person whose heart He has already prepared.
Let’s be bold and reach out to those with whom we have contact as it may be our last opportunity to do so.
Have a blessed and fruitful Christmas and a peaceful New Year.